Monday 24 December 2012

Advent calendar 24

Click on the image to see the whole of it.

We have come to the end of the Swenglish Home Advent Calendar this year, and I hope you might have found some inspiration along the way. Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by!

In Swedish tradition, we celebrate Christmas today, so...

... from all of me,
to all of you,


 May it be filled with peace and joy, 
sugar and spice 
and all things nice...!

Sunday 23 December 2012

Advent calendar 23

Red apples... they just ooze Christmas vibes, don't you think? 
Well, at least where I come from (Sweden), they are synonymous with this season. 
Pile them high, pile them low... a simple addition of colour that speaks volumes.
And then you can eat your decorations too!

Apple greetings to you all,

Saturday 22 December 2012

Advent calendar 22

 The tree is now in place and the scent of pine fills the room. 
Its branches host a modest selection of decorations: gingerbread hearts, cinnamon sticks, 
vintage-looking baubles and one or two musical instruments...

The wreath I had hung in the window has been exchanged for the only new 
Christmas decoration purchase this year, the patchwork paper star below.

So, with the exception of the star, not much has changed from the photo below, 
which I took a few years ago at Christmas...

In the kitchen, my favourite Christmas flowers stand proud and tall, and seem to 
enjoy being embraced by the sneezing/coughing man on the old cough drop tin.

I'll see you again tomorrow, when the red theme continues...


Friday 21 December 2012

Advent calendar 21

As I rush around to get ready for Christmas, I feel myself losing sight of what Christmas is all about. It may mean different things for different people, of course, but last night, I felt that PEACE is indeed a message I would like to add to my calendar here. 

So, slumped in the sofa after a long day yesterday, my therapeutic activity for the evening was shaping a piece of metal wire into a peace sign and then cover it in twine. A nice decoration perhaps for a bottle to give away, for the Christmas tree as alternative baubles, or even as a necklace for yourself...!  Smileys

This morning I "dressed" a candle with the same message, by warming a teaspoon over the cooker and then pressing the warm spoon gently onto a cut out paper peace sign held in place by my other hand on the candle. As the was melts a little under the warm spoon, the peace sign is "glued" onto the candle. 

So, dear readers, with only a few days to go to Christmas, 
may peace be with you on your path, wherever you are!

Thursday 20 December 2012

Advent calendar 20

Last week I went to Sweden to work in the city of Uppsala for a few days, and as I walked past this "Christmas-ified" shop window, I could not help but brave the cold and fish out my camera for a quick snap. As I uploaded the photos to my computer, I realised I had no idea what the shop was called, but after some internet detective work, I think it is the lovely little shop called Kajsa Johanna. Full of wonderful plants and a mix of industrial/vintage/rusty beauties, it is a very tempting place!

I came to think of a little display I made a couple of years ago, one which does indeed contain a lot of what I like, but which felt too much like a flower shop display, and was therefore soon "dismantled" and rearranged.

Wreaths of all sorts are a "sign of the - seasonal -times", 
and a very easy one to make is this one with peanuts. 
Again, an edible display which brings double joy!

Uppsala was truly stunning last week, with lots of snow and Christmas lights galore.

The former town hall, now hosting shops, offices and a restaurant, was the queen of lights. In every window a lit star, and just look at the garlands around the ground floor windows and doors - stunning!

"Brrr", you say? 
Yes, Sweden was very "brrrrr-y", and where my parents live, 
this stunning scenery was accompanied by minus 19 degrees (C). 
A little chilly, indeed!

Hope your Thursday is filled with warmth and beauty,

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Advent calendar 19

Door number nineteen holds another couple of recycled images from last year. I am very fond of this colour combination of rust and olive green (and moss green), and somehow the rusty -what I believe are- old cannon balls seem rather beautiful in their new, more peaceful environment, cuddled by the softer moss balls...

I hope you also find yourselves in peaceful surroundings, 
with PEACE and JOY lining your path to Christmas...

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Advent calendar 18

 Dear readers,
Do you, like I, have a weakness for certain unhealthy things... 
like perhaps Pringles potato crisps?

Well, here is an excuse as good as any to go a  little wild and crazy in the crisps department... Cut and paste one of your favourite photos several times into a long line. Measure the crisps jar first, so you can ensure you shrink the photos to the right size. Print, cut out and glue, and voilà, a small stocking filler present, or a small party favour, alternative party "bag" for the children, or simply a few cute storage jars for all those "bits" that seem to always clutter your desk (read: my desk), like mini ink pads, hair clips, sticky tape etc.

Yesterday I could not believe my eyes when the visitor counter showed 3358 visitors,
many of whom I believe were from the Czech Republic.
So, hello new readers (and old !) worldwide - lovely to see you here!

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Monday 17 December 2012

Advent calendar 17

Dear readers,
Here is a mini quiz for you...
What is the one thing you do not want to lose on the plane back from your work trip, with lots of things you need to do on the computer piled up for you to attack first thing Monday morning?

Yes, that's right, your computer glasses are exactly what you do not want to lose...

New ones should be ready tomorrow afternoon, and until then, I think I may as well devote my time to really important things... like making mini wreaths to dress some glass jars that may soon host some more "refined" Christmas flowers!

Thank you for all your lovely comments!
Computer-"blind" greetings,

Sunday 16 December 2012

Advent calendar 16

No Christmas calendar from The Swenglish Home would be complete without some Brussels sprouts, and those of you who have followed my blog for some time, might remember that I went a little sprout crazy last year... 

I do confess having been rather amused by the variety of comments our guests at a party 
offered on the topic of the rather strange "baubles" hanging from the mossy wreath...

Not to everybody's taste, perhaps, but they do it for me! 
That is, if I get to decorate with them. 
Eating them? I shiver at the thought!

So, happy sprouting everyone!

Saturday 15 December 2012

Advent calendar 15

Short of space for a real Christmas tree? 
Perhaps this alternative 'tree' could do the job? 
Just pile various wreaths on top of each other and top it off with a ball 
made of hazelnuts glued onto a polystyrene ball. Done! 
OK, perhaps not quite the same thing, but rather sweet in its own way...

We are getting closer now... what may tomorrow's door hide?
Sending you warm thoughts and anti-stress vibes!

Friday 14 December 2012

Advent calendar 14

Dear readers, as I am working abroad this week, quite a few of the calendar flaps will hold photos and ideas that some of you may have seen here before, but not to worry, I have a few new ideas and photos for you still to come...

Today my top frugal tip is to grab some leftover strips of wood (these I got for free from a neighbour who was building a shed and had some scrap pieces left) and paint a little message on it. (I used letter stamps from Clas Ohlson.) Perhaps you need to remind yourself to DREAM more? 

Or perhaps you would like to give a friend a little HAPPINESS? 

Happy wording!

Thursday 13 December 2012

Advent calendar 13

This a photo from two years ago that I am still very fond of, probably because, at the time, I was so happy to see some snow here to help me find the Christmas feeling, and also because it is very much "me", or at least the me right now: Moss, nuts and other decorative things from Mother Nature's own craft cupboard, mixed with a rustic candle and a rusty star. Who knows, in five years time I might be decorating with neon-coloured plastic baubles for Christmas (although, somehow I doubt it), but right now this is what I like!

Wishing you a lovely Thursday!

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Advent calendar 12

My dear friend Mia, with the beautiful blog Lilla Blanka, the other day showed some very sweet gingerbread Christmas trees she had made (click here to see her post). I have seen these lovely trees here and there, but had forgotten about them until I saw Mia's post. So, as my boys went wild during our baking session on Sunday, making everything from gingerbread sharks to giraffes and aeroplanes, I made a pile of stars (four each of four different sizes). 

However, I confess, the "glueing" part, where melted sugar etc should have been involved, I skipped. I cheated and just stacked the biscuits, sprinkled some icing sugar over it (although, I see here it looks more as if I have dropped a sack of flour from a great height...) and ta-daa! A-hem... nothing wrong with an obscenely oversized top star, is there?

Flour-y, ginger-scented greetings to you all and thank you for all your kind words!

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Advent calendar 11

OK, so she might not win any beauty contests if you look closely... 

... but for now, she is doing a perfectly adequate job...

... at offering a little bit of mood light, my willow wreath wrapped in Christmas lights...!

Love and light to you all,

Monday 10 December 2012

Advent Calendar 10

A few years ago, for a craft sale I did at home, I decorated some small match boxes with some of my photos. Together with a nice, chunky candle, this could be a special little gift for someone in the family, or perhaps for a teacher or a neighbour. If you tie a pretty ribbon around a pack of four or eight of them, they could make a nice little present on their own. I made the mini photos at our local supermarket, where the self service photo printer has a selection of sizes to choose from (these are nine small photos in one normal size photo, 10x15cm).

Wishing you a lovely Monday!

Sunday 9 December 2012

Advent calendar 9

So, what does one do on a tired Friday night, when one is warming up in front of the telly after having enjoyed the Christmas lights switch on tradition in the High Street in one's little town..?

Well, this certain someone grabbed a piece of leftover floorboard (ca 11 inches/ 30 cm long), sawed (yes, in front of the telly!) some twigs into different sizes, glued them onto the floorboard piece and topped it off with yet another salt dough star. I should probably have sanded the edges of the piece of wood before I started this little project, but patience is not my most prominent characteristic...

So, dear readers, have yourself a stick-y little Christmas and happy crafting!

Saturday 8 December 2012

Advent calendar 8

Dear readers,
Today I am straying a little from the DIY Christmas tips and taking you on a short stroll in one of our much treasured neighbouring villages. Yes, you have seen it featured many times before here on my blog, but I just can't help myself - it is a very bloggable village! (Remember - if you would like to view the images better, and not strangely cropped, click on them.)

I am of course talking about Lacock, where Christmas wreaths now adorn the already beautiful old doors and where I never tire of strolling up and down the old streets, breathing in the history of each building stone and every little corner of loveliness...

If you ever find yourself here in Lacock, you simply have to go for a Cream Tea at King John's Hunting Lodge, a k a "Tearoom & Garden" above, where part of the building stems from the days of King John, i e the 13th century! Indoor cosiness by the fire and with a typical English dresser full of blue and white china and yummy cakes, and in the summer, outdoor seating in the gorgeous English cottage garden.

Love the moss-clad little roof above the entrance to the bakery! 

The tiny village shop in Christmas costume too...

Wishing you all a lovely Saturday!
Tomorrow, I will be back with another small craft tip for the festive season.

Friday 7 December 2012

Advent calendar 7

Being a big fan of word play, the obvious title for today's calendar flap ought to be "It's a wrap!", but I suppose I risk losing readers over my bad sense of humour, so perhaps I should just get on with telling you what it is all about... 

On my beloved dolly tub (which I made into a table with some leftover floorboards a few years ago) you may spot two little Christmas presents, wrapped and ready for the large man with silver beard and a ho-ho-ho laughter to put in his sack and keep safe until the 24th (yes, according to Swedish tradition, we open our gifts on Christmas Eve).

Two music-packed gifts wrapped in two normal A4 sheets onto which I have copied two of my dresses (!). The one to the right you will most certainly recognise by now, and the one to the left is one of my favourite dresses, whose colours are not at all as dark brown as they turned out in my printer (it is more of an olive green, but I think I am running out of coloured ink!), but which I thought looked rather stylish anyway, albeit somewhat dark. A few of my salt dough stars from the other day's "baking session" and voilà, two presents with a personal touch!

Thank you so much for all your kind comments here on my blog. I am sorry that I am still so invisible on yours. Wishing you all the best for your Christmas preparations, or whatever December holds for you!

Thursday 6 December 2012

Advent calendar 6

"Well...", you might say, "how many cushions does one need...?" 
To that, my friends, my answer will always be: 
"You can never have too many!"

I know, I am probably borderline cushion-o-holic, but so be it, because when in my head I suddenly saw this spicy number, I just had to make it. Thinking (hoping) it can be used other seasons than just for Christmas, as I use cinnamon all year round, I set to work with some leftover fabric from a dress I hardly ever wore, bought for £ 3 some years ago in the sales, and which has previously served another cushion-y purpose you might remember from...:


So, there we are, the Swenglish cushion family keeps growing and 
has probably not seen its last family member yet...

Now, what else might one make on the theme of cinnamon, I wonder...
... time for some spicy pondering!

Warm regards to you all, dear readers!